Meet Aspiring Writer Melissa Finnegan

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and your writing experience.

I live in Michigan and have my whole life. I have been married to my wonderful husband, Patrick, for fourteen and a half years. We have two amazing children that keep life exciting :). I teach music part-time in an elementary school. I give piano, voice and guitar lessons to homeschooled children and a few public school children. And I serve as the worship leader at our church.

I have always loved to write (isn’t that what EVERY writer says—but it’s true). I wrote poems, stories and skits when I was a kid. I always dreamed I would be a writer one day but when I got married, had kids, I figured I would have to wait until I was retired to ever have time. It wasn’t until my world came crashing down around me (a very long story I call my Genesis 5020, you can read about it on my blog, here), that God clearly spoke into my heart and said, “Now you can write for women, because now you can understand their pain.” After that I signed up for the Apprentice course with the Christian Writers Guild. I learned so much and have had several articles published since being in that course. I hope to enroll in the Journeyman’s course in the future.


Tell us about your work in progress (working title, genre, back cover blurb, etc.)

I am in a weird spot with my WIP. I have finished one novel and I have some people critiquing it right now. I have also entered the first five pages in ACFW’s First Impression content.

While that one is being looked over I have started a new novel. It is tentatively titled Remember Me. It is a contemporary romantic mystery. I deal with women’s issues in my novels, especially with establishing healthy relationships, often times because of past wounds.

My life verse is Genesis 50:20, my goal is to always have that as a thread in my books. The hurt my characters experience will be used for God’s glory.

My heroine, Lorin Bishop, longs for safety. She thinks it’s her job to keep herself safe instead of letting God be her protector. She also believes safety can be found in Robert, her long time boyfriend. He rescued her when no one else saw her. Her world of safety spins out of control when she finds a man, Elijah Cadwall, badly injured in an abandoned shed. He has no memory, but he can’t forget this beautiful woman who saved him.

Will Lorin risk becoming truly alive and loving a man who could leave her once he gets his memory back or will she run to the man who she believes is the only one who can keep her safe?


What prompted you to write fiction?

Jesus! He is a master storyteller. I hope my stories will be parables my readers can apply to their daily lives and relationships.


How has your non-fiction experience influenced you fiction writing?

So much more than I thought possible. Write tight, get to the point, eliminate needless words. All are important in article writing and also in writing fiction. I never wanted to write non-fiction but after my course with CWG I realized I loved it and it has helped me a great deal in becoming a stronger fiction writer.


What specific steps have you taken to develop your fiction craft?

As mentioned above, I took the CWG Apprentice course and plan to enroll in the next one. I read tons of author and agent blogs and I am always reading a writing craft book. I also read a lot of fiction (just ask my hubby). I try to read the latest books so I know what is selling and I can keep up on what my audience is looking for.


What’s been your biggest challenge in writing fiction?

Finding time. Again, something ever writer says, but true. Finding time is hard, but I know if I want this to happen I have to make the time, even if it means staying up later than normal or giving up something else.

Also, remembering all the “rules” of the writing craft: did I use all five senses, am I in deep POV, am I showing or telling, am I using passive verbs? Yikes, it’s stressing me out just to write about it!


What’s been your greatest reward, so far, in writing fiction?

Having people read my manuscript and talk about my characters like they are real. My most rewarding moment came when one of my readers sent me a text that said, “Arg, you killed (name removed so I don’t ruin my story for anyone if/when it gets published).” I laughed and cried. My characters meant something to someone else other than me. That was huge.

What would you tell a writer who is just venturing into fiction for the first time?

Take time to learn the craft. I get frustrated when someone says, “What’s the big deal, you just write.” That’s what I used to think. You can “just write”, but good writing takes time and investment in the craft. Yes, anyone can self-publish, but even if you choose that route take the time to study. If I pick up a self-published book and see rules that aren’t followed—like double spacing after periods—I will set it down. If they didn’t take the time to learn that rule I wonder what other rules they ignored. Sorry, I’m just speaking the truth. Respect your reader and the craft enough to learn how to do it to the best of your ability.


Anything else you would like to share?

This is my first interview, so thank you, Henry, for asking me to be here. I am very excited. God is so good.


Melissa Finnegan


4 Responses to Meet Aspiring Writer Melissa Finnegan

  1. Heather Marsten December 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    Great interview!!!! Came over to read it. It is true that telling stories can share the love of Christ easier than preaching. It wasn’t that long ago when I was rejecting the Gospel message but reading some Christian Fiction authors and wondering at the mindless (LOL) faith of some of the characters. While it took a pastor with a heart of love and immense patience to help me figure out why I was so upset with God, Christian fiction opened up a dialogue between me and God. And you are right, everything in our lives can be used for God’s glory, even the dark parts of our lives. I’ve been working on a memoir that I hope will help others who are hurting to seek God. Have a Merry Christmas.

  2. Melissa Finnegan December 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Henry, thank you again for having me. It was truly an honor. Have a very Merry Christmas.

  3. Rachelle December 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Great interview! Good luck in your writing, Melissa. Your WIP sounds really intriguing. Keep us updated!


  1. I’ve Been Interviewed « 5020genesis - December 13, 2012

    […] I haven’t been able to share much of my writing journey with you on this blog so if you wondered how I got started writing, my thoughts about writing or my current work-in-progress, you can find out in this interview. […]

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